COLORADO NEWS

Soak up the rays: Today marks Denver’s longest day of sunshine

Jun 20, 2024, 11:35 AM | Updated: 1:30 pm

The summer solstice is the official start to summer, which, this year, falls on Thursday, June 20, at 2:50 p.m. MT.

The summer solstice occurs due to Earth’s rotation around the sun and its tilt on its axis, just like the other seasons on the planet. It marks the point when the northern hemisphere of Earth is tilted closest to the sun.

In the southern hemisphere, June 20 is the shortest day of the year. Earth has seasons because it’s tilted, so light from the sun changes throughout the year differently for different parts of the world.

The term solstice is derived from the Latin words “sol,” meaning sun, and “sistere,” meaning to stand still. This is appropriate as the summer solstice signifies the sun reaching its highest position in the sky.

This results in what is commonly known as “the longest day of the year,” as it is the day with the most daylight in the northern hemisphere. In Denver, the solstice will bring 15 hours of daylight.

Historically, many people have gathered to celebrate the summer solstice. This day has long been recognized by different ancient cultures. In fact, the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built according to the summer solstice as the sun stays directly in between the two pyramids when looking from the Sphinx. Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has also been associated with the solstices for more than 5,000 years.

As Earth orbits the sun, the northern hemisphere will gradually experience shorter daylight hours until the winter solstice. The winter solstice this year falls on Saturday, December 21, at 2:19 a.m. That day, Denver will only have 9 hours and 21 minutes of daylight.

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Soak up the rays: Today marks Denver’s longest day of sunshine